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L.A. Medical School Successful in Fundraising for Students While Honoring National Community Health Research Pioneer

Community architect Loretta Jones was honored at CDU’s sixth annual Spring Gala, which garnered over $100,000 in support for student scholarships


LOS ANGELES, Calif. (April 24, 2018) – This year’s Legacy Leaders Spring Gala saw the CDU community come together to honor the lifetime accomplishments of Loretta Jones, ThD, MA,  for her many decades of service to the community as a civil rights activist, health policy advocate and social architect. This year’s event took place on April 19 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and raised nearly $130,000 to support University scholarships and pipeline programs. The Gala was also the launch of the inaugural Legacy 100 campaign, which seeks to raise scholarships that will be matched one-to-one up to $250,000.

CDU Student Government president Shenita Anderson thanked everyone in attendance for their support of the Gala and reminded them how their support impacts CDU as it continues on its mission of training the health workforce of tomorrow: “[CDU has] experienced tremendous growth in the past year. Support for events such as tonight’s Gala ensures that our growth can be sustained, so that CDU can continue training the future leaders in health who are dedicated to social justice and health equity for underserved populations.”

In his remarks, CDU President/CEO Dr. David M. Carlisle called the evening’s honoree a “true community champion and legend.” Dr. Jones has long advocated for community-based participatory research (CBPR) to address health disparities that underserved populations face. In 1992, through an agreement with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), CDU and UCLA, she founded Health African American Families (HAAF-II) to advance health education and facilitate collaboration among community organizations, academia and government agencies to improve the health of communities of color in Los Angeles.

Since its inception nearly three decades ago, HAAF-II has demonstrated how CBPR can be an effective mechanism for directing power, collective action, system change and social justice in the process of addressing health disparities at the community level.  “[Dr. Jones] is an amazing person, and we are grateful to be able to honor her at this event,” Dr. Carlisle said.

Of the evening’s honor, Dr. Jones stated: “I’d like to think that this honor doesn’t just belong to me, it belongs to all of us. It belongs to those who couldn’t be [at the Gala] due to cost, lack of childcare or other obligations. I’d like to thank [CDU] for this honor, and my community members and family for their support.”

The event was emceed by Toni Guinyard, general assignment reporter for NBC4 Southern California, for the sixth year in a row. Entertainment was provided by the Legacy Tribute Band, featuring Debra Parsons and CDU alum Paul Gillis, Jr.


  • Diamond: Dignity Health
  • Gold: Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
  • Silver: AECOM, Comerica, The California Endowment



CDU is a private, non-profit student centered minority-serving medical and health sciences University that is committed to cultivating diverse health professional leaders who are dedicated to social justice and health equity for underserved populations through outstanding education, research, clinical service, and community engagement.

Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, CDU has graduated, since its inception, more than 575 physicians, 1,200 physician assistants and over a thousand other health professionals, as well as training over 2,700 physician specialists through its sponsored residency programs. Its School of Nursing has graduated over 1000 nursing professionals, including over 600 family nurse practitioners.  CDU is a leader in health disparities research with a focus on education, training, treatment and care in cancer, diabetes, cardiometabolic and HIV/AIDS.




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